WHAT YOU LOOKIN AT?

I paddled upstream today looking for bears. I found one almost immediately! It was walking upstream on the left and so I paddled upstream on the right. We had rain last night so the stream was flowing faster than normal. We kept pace with each other but when I took out the camera to take this shot I quickly headed back downstream.

The vast majority of salmon a bear will eat are dead. The salmon spawn,die and float downstream. Bears are part of the clean up crew. They walk along the streams edge looking for dead salmon. If you don’t have to work for your dinner why bother?

This bear came across two salmon! It grabbed the first one and promptly dropped it. It than found a second one and walked off into the forest to enjoy but I was surprised to see It come back out 15 seconds later! When I see a bear being “fussy” that means It’s tummy is full! I bet the only fish it would keep would be a fresh squirming one!

I saw three bears on this trip but I still think there should be more! I saw 4 large dead salmon laying very close to the streams bank. Seeing those fresh salmon told me no bears have been around! If just one bear had walked by It would of grabbed one.

This bear was full, most likely because very few bears are around leaving plenty of salmon to eat! Enough salmon that It can afford to be fussy!

I’M CONCERNED!

I camped out at my favorite river so as to get shots of the bears grabbing salmon! Lots of salmon in the river but zero bears? I was there for three days and saw no bears!

I talked to a friend of mine who has the unusual job of swimming down many streams around Tofino. He and his wife count salmon to get a idea on how healthy the run is. He told me that in 17 swims over the last month he and his wife saw only one bear!

No hunter or hunters could possibly wipe out that many bears all over the place. Maybe in one stream but still that’s stretching it! I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on? I’m hoping he and I are both wrong and the bears will show up on mass soon!

WET AND WILD

This yearling was swimming when I came upon it. It climbed out of the water,shook vigorously like a dog and stared at me.

Bears are very good swimmers. They swim from island to island foraging. Actually just about every animal out there is a great swimmer and island hops as well.

When Bears get mange,they often times go into the ocean. The salt helps kill the parasites.

BIG BART

I found two bears tonight. I recognized this bear as one I’ve called “Big Bart”. He’s been around for a few years. He’s shy but tolerates me.

Because of there being no Bear Watching boats zipping around, the bears appear to be more skittish.

I think they get accustomed to boats being around when the bear watching boats are out. Because of this virus the boats haven’t been out this year,so the bears have gotten use to silence making it more difficult for me to get close. Fortunately many of them already know me!

BEARLY POSING

I haven’t been able to get close enough to tell if this bear is a boy or girl? I suspect a female as the fur around the head is large and rounded. She was suspicious of me as I had to beach the boat and walk on land to get closer. Whenever she bent down to get a mouthful of grass,I’d move silently towards her. When she looked up I froze.  Bears get nervous If they see movement. She’ll get use to me after a few months.

A GROWN UP PIGLET!

I’m pretty sure this is a 3 year old Piglet all grown up.  Not only does she have the identical chest mark but she also recognized me! She didn’t run away and allowed me to get within 15 feet. I always talked to her. I think the voice helped her remember.

She is doing really well and It was so good to see my little friend all grown up! One thing I did notice is that she had been swiped by another bear in a fight. Bears always swipe at the eyes. She has a small scar under her right eye.

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED

I took some friends out on a boat tour today. We had to leave much earlier than normal. I like to leave three hours before sunset as a standard rule,the light is far warmer near sunset.

This is Peggy and Piglet foraging along the shore. Piglet got spooked and ran away at one point. Which in turn made Peggy nervous! She stood up to look around for the danger!

After being satisfied that there was no danger,they both settled down.

PIGLET III

Peggy has a new cub this year,so I’m calling it Piglet III. Its her third cub. I do not know the sex but suspect another female? She was being shy. She was using Peggy’s body as a shield. She eventually came out from behind mum and than she promptly walked into the forest without saying so much as a polite goodbye. Such a short debut!

Such a little darling!

MY FIRST BOO BOO OF THE YEAR

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I went looking for bears tonight,first time this year. I went up the eastern shore of Fortune Channel for several miles not seeing any. I made my return run and just as I was about to leave Fortune I did spot one but it was in the shade. Wouldn’t you know it! You know how I hate black bears in shade!

Having said that……10% of something is better than 100% of nothing! It looks like a matured female.

MY FURRY GIRLFRIEND “TEDDY”

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I love the eyes on this bear! She has such innocent eyes! She recognizes me! I do think she likes me.

I usually stand in the river with my canoes bow line tied around my waist.Being in the middle of the stream not only puts me off of the bears patrolling routes but also frees up my hands for the camera.

I saw Teddy walking towards me from upstream.She walked to just opposite me & simply waited there all the while staring at me with such a sweet face.I do believe she wants to get closer. For instance, she pretended she saw something in the rear of my canoe. As if she saw a salmon there!

So she waded out into the water to go check.I couldn’t allow her to do that & so told her to stop & she did exactly that.

When I got into my canoe to head back downstream the current was fast.She began to follow me,I did see her face change when she realized she couldn’t keep up. She stopped,turned around & went back upstream.

I bet If I threw her my hat she’d walk away with it! I’ve never had a bear girlfriend before.

She’ll be going to bed soon & I look forward to seeing her again!

 

“YOU YELLED AT ME”!

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I tied my boat up along a downed tree downstream.I was walking back to my boat when this bear came out of the forest in front of me & began walking downstream as well. It spied my boat & was curious. When it walked along the down tree to inspect my boat I yelled at her! Last thing I need are her claws puncturing the air tubes! She looked wide eyed at me for a second,turned & ran into the forest.

I got into my boat & began to drift downstream.She came back out looking rather perplexed…….”What did I do”?

“HELLO……..HOW ARE YOU”?

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During spawning season there are many bears wandering around.I’m mindful of that fact.My head is constantly swivelling around like a radar dish ever watchful.

Having said that If a bear walks by me I do become focused on its activities. I was taking shots of one bear walking past & after it left I looked around behind me & found this pretty 3 year old female just staring at me with such a beautiful look! I swear she knew me & seemed almost glad to find me! She was not more than 15 feet behind me.She just stood there waiting for me to notice her waiting patiently. I walked down stream away from her & she walked downstream following me.I moved 4 times & she did as well.

Her patience was rewarded by finding a salmon in a set of washboard rapids! She walked off with her treat & before she disappeared into the forest I yelled out “bon appetite”.

“COME WITH ME”

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Her patience was rewarding by finding a tasty salmon for dinner! She slowly walked off into the forest to enjoy her salmon dinner in private.Most of the time the bears do not finish their salmon. They eat the best parts & leave the rest.This salmon will now decompose & act as fertilizer for the forest.The trees surrounding a salmon bearing stream grow larger as a result!

All the nutrients the salmon gathers over its 4 years while out in the open ocean are eventually brought back to the forest.